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Arresting vessels in Egypt


Egypt being a gateway between some of the worlds busiest trading hubs, with multiple ports on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, in addition to the Suez Canal, concerns arise with regards to the ins-and-outs of its maritime legislation. As P&I correspondents, our team has frequently  received queries concerning the procedures of arrest in Egypt, hence we found it beneficial to all our clients to prepare the below brief points on this issue.

In addition to executory arrests which may be placed against vessels for enforcement of awards rendered against a given vessel and/or sister vessels, we also have under the Egyptian law the conservatory to secure payment of a marine debt or administrative arrests by the governmental authorities and agencies

Egyptian law is generally not restrictive in allowing conservatory measures. Egypt has a favorable reputation for being a convenient place to arrest vessels.

Under Egyptian law a vessel can be arrested to secure a maritime claim. The law provides an extensive list of debts which qualify as marine debts against which a conservatory arrest may be placed against a vessel. These marine debts include :

  • Ports and sea channels duties.
  • Expenses concerning removal, picking up, or lifting the shipwrecks and cargo.
  • Damage caused by the ship caused either by collision or pollution or other similar marine casualties.
  • Loss of life or personal injury caused by the ship or occurring in connection with her operation.
  • Contracts related to Charter Parties .
  • Insurance on the ship.
  • Contracts related to the carriage of goods by means of a charter party or bill of lading.
  • Loss of or damage to goods and baggage carried out in the ship;
  • Salvage;
  • General average;
  • Ship’s towage;
  • Pilotage
  • Supply of goods or materials whether supplied to the ship for her operation or for her maintenance; whichever maybe the source of such supply.
  • Construction, repair or equipment of the ship or dock charges and dues;
  • Wages of Masters, Officers, or crew;
  • Master’s disbursements, and disbursements made by shippers, charterers or agent on behalf of a ship or her owner;
  • Disputes as to the ownership of the ship;
  • Disputes over the common ownership of the ship or her possession, employment, or in common earnings of that ship, resulting from her exploitation.
  • Marine mortgage

An application to arrest a vessel has to be presented before the competent court. It would be recommended to support the application for arrest with all relevant documents proving the nature of the debt as a marine debt and establishing its quantum.

Procedurally, there are a number of issues that must be taken into consideration when applying before the courts for this kind of arrests, namely, all supporting documents must be in originals and duly translated into Arabic language. A Power of Attorney must be issued in favor of the attending lawyers. Evidence must be presented that the vessel intended to be arrested is berthed at the port within the court’s jurisdiction.

It is worthwhile mentioning here that under Egyptian Law, the Egyptian court would be competent to give orders of conservatory nature even if the Egyptian Court is not competent to decide on the merits of the case. In this respect, in a recent case our firm succeeded to obtain an arrest order against a vessel in Alexandria Port after the owner has refused to pay the bunker price supplied in Turkey.

Beside the conservatory arrest there is the administrative arrest. This sort of arrest is applicable in Egypt and gives the governmental authorities,  including inter alia the port authorities, the Navy, the Suez Canal Authority and governmental agencies including the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency the right to arrest a vessel for settlement of their claims, such as port dues, property damages, oil pollution, obstruction to navigation in navigational channels that may have been caused by a vessel. For administrative arrests, no court order is required and the vessel shall not be allowed to sail and will remain detained until the competent authority/agency (the arrestor) has lifted the arrest pursuant to an agreement with the owner of the vessel involving payment or undertaking to pay the authority’s claim.

As P&I correspondents and preferred law firm for various international shipowners, we always aim at assisting the distinguished members and P&I clubs we represent in lifting the different types of arrests placed on vessels, whether these are executory, conservatory or administrative arrests, using our influential network of contacts—which we have established over our declared of work—with the different authorities and based on our unmatchable reputation as biggest admiralty law firm working in Egypt. Our team takes pride in having the duty to consult, assist and act as both the P&I clubs and their members eyes and ears on the ground in order to always achieve the most favorable, time and cost effective solutions.